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Claire McLintock - Haematologist & Obstetric Physician

Private Service, Haematology, Maternity, Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Bone Marrow Biopsy

Bone marrow biopsy is the test used to examine the "factory" where the blood cells are made. The biopsy is taken from the back of the pelvis using special instruments that take a sample of the fluid bone marrow and also a core sample of the bone marrow. These samples are examined by a laboratory haematologist to make sure that all of the normal blood forming cells are present, that orderly maturation of the red cell, white cell and platelets is occurring and that no abnormal cell populations are present.

A bone marrow biopsy usually takes about 20-30 minutes. Local anaesthetic is injected into the skin and tissue over the area where the biopsy is taken. A small cut is made in the skin and the biopsy is taken from the bone marriw by using a special needle. Once the biopsy has been taken, pressure is applied for a short time over the incision site and a standard plaster covers the small wound. Bleeding after the biopsy is very uncommon. After the local anaesthetic wears off the area can be painful but paracetamol is usually sufficient to control the pain. A sedative can sometimes be given but patients are not able to drive after the procedure if they are given a sedative, otherwise it is fine to drive.

Dr McLintock refers her patients to Diagnostic Medlab for bone marrow biopsies where the haematologists who carry out the procedure are very experienced.

Patients may wish to take a support person with them for the procedure and that person can be in the room with them while the procedure is done.

The final results of the bone marrow are usually available after 10-14 days and Dr McLintock will see all her patients to deliver the results in person and recommends that patients bring a support person with them to receive the results.

This page was last updated at 12:47PM on March 8, 2021.